“An outrage.” “Devastating for the city.”
Those were some of the words New Haven state legislators used to describe Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed new $43.8 billion budget.
The legislators made the remarks at a briefing for New Haven aldermen Saturday morning at Yale’s police station on Ashmun Street.
They echoed remarks made a day earlier at the Capitol by New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and other Connecticut mayors: That the proposed budget shortchanges cities through a “dishonest” “shell game.” Malloy argues he is sending the cities more money, albeit in new form: for education and transportation projects. City officials respond that simultaneous deep cuts to traditional sources of general municipal aid leave them worse off—$13.8 million worse off in New Haven’s case. (Click here, here and here to read about that.)
At Saturday’s briefing, New Haven’s state legislators made clear to the assembled two dozen aldermen that they’re standing with the mayors in planning to seek changes as they begin the months-long process of budget hearings and votes.
“This is not the Connecticut I live in. This is not the Connecticut I want my children to grow up in,” state Rep. Toni Walker, co-chair of the legislature’s powerful Appropriations Committee, told the aldermen.
The legislators focused in particular on health care. Malloy’s proposed budget cuts funding to hospitals by $208.1 million in 2014 and by $134.2 million on top of that in 2015. Yale-New Haven Hospital stands to lose $126 million in state funding over two years. (Click here for a story about those cuts, and people’s reactions.)
State Rep. Patricia Dillon, who chairs the legislature’s Health and Hospitals Subcommittee, called the health-care cuts counter to her mission to “protect our quality of life.” State Rep. Juan Candelaria (at left in photo seated with state Reps. Gary Holder-WInfield and Dillon) called Malloy’s proposed $1.3 million annual cuts for the Connecticut Mental Health Center an “outrage.” Of that full amount, $906,438 comes from eliminating funding for research. According to an internal analysis, CMHC would have to lay off workers, cutting back the number of psychiatrists available to children.
Westville Alderman Adam Marchand called the briefing “a glass of cold water to the face,” a reminder of the inextricable link between decisions made in Hartford and New Haven’s well-being. He said he plans to inform his constituents in coming weeks about what’s at stake in the upcoming state budget battle.